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Hyperion Records

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Christmas Mass in the ducal chapel (Sainte-Chapelle), Chambéry (Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, fol. 158r) by Jean Colombe (c1430/35-c1493)
Musée Condé, Chantilly, France / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67715
Recording details: February 2008
Chapel of All Souls College, Oxford, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: January 2009
Total duration: 6 minutes 37 seconds

'Se la face ay pale remains Dufay's most approchable mass … this is easy, effortless musicianship  … the balance is superb, and all lines are presented in a free and supple manner that projects the music very well' (Gramophone)

'Dufay was one of the greatest composers of the 15th century … half a dozen recordings of Dufay's Missa Se la face are available but Kirkman's sweeps the board … performances of great clarity, pliancy and historical value … a confirming display of excellence and insight' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Dufay's Missa Se la face ay pale provides the backbone for this gloriously performed disc from the eight male voices of the pure-toned Binchois Consort. Contrasting motets and mass propers, works of sublime clarity, are rewardingly interspersed … the results are mesmerising' (The Observer)

'The singers more than adequately realise their stated aim of bringing the opulent Court of Savoy to life … the singing on the CD is mellifluous and animated, the pronunciation authentic … and both the liturgical context and the confidence of the performance make this a valuable addition to our understanding of Dufay's output' (Early Music Review)

'This ensemble has now recorded five masses credited to Dufay, an achievement of considerable stature … as well as giving a fine rendition of the music, Kirkman's Dufay disc also adds relevant music to broaden our understanding of the period' (Fanfare, USA)

Magnanime gentis
composer
3vv; to mark the peace treaty between Louis of Savoy and his brother Philippe, May 1438
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The three-voice Magnanime gentis is a ceremonial and political piece, with a clear public rhetoric in Dufay’s characteristically brilliant musical style for such works, here written in a taut and focused rather than a rich and expansive idiom. Its effect is astonishingly immediate for so intellectual and recondite a piece of musical thought. The freely composed duos, for triplum and motetus, show an extraordinary melodic and contrapuntal inventiveness; and the isorhythmic tenor, presented according to a progressively diminishing metrical scheme (initially in very long rhythmic values), uses the chant fragment ‘Haec est vera fraternitas’ to project the idea of brotherly reconciliation.

from notes by Philip Weller © 2009

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